Fourth of July
Scene cut from the final draft of Coop:
Out here you can see roughly 120 degrees of horizon. Miles and miles, basically. And all along the blackened edge now, as the light drops and the dark deepens, I can see silent spits and fizzes of color. Sometimes they come up in a professional-sized cluster, sometimes it is just a single sparkly spritz against the night. The whole thing is backdropped by this big over-risen loaf of a cumulonimbus cloud, pale white in the dark sky. Every now and then the whole thing is suffused with orange heat lightning and becomes a mountainous shivering ember. And all around me lightning bugs switch silently off and on, sliding through the sky blinking for love. I stand there a long quiet while, my baby and wife asleep in the house, my little girl gone traveling, and I think of the beauty of our low-key freedom to live and grow on this place, and I think of all those summer nights that ended with fresh hay stacked under a roof and against the winter, and I think of my daughter begrudgingly, weepfully learning the lessons of life, and out there at the edge of the visible world the colors just keep popping.
From last year’s blog:
Never been a big fireworks guy. Enjoy them, wouldn’t necessarily drive across town to see them, although I often do, as we have friends with a great view to the display and it makes for a fine evening of visiting capped by bits of smoldering ash dropping in your Kool-Aid. And lest I come off as cynical and detached, of course I “ooh” and “aah” along with everyone else – they’re fireworks! This year there were tentative plans to attend, but things changed and we spent the evening in. This news was received with surprising equanimity by a certain 8-year-old, but apparently it was all false bravado because at 10:02 p.m. I awoke to the sound of distant thumping and nearby weeping, and in the darkness the 8-year-old announced through tears that “The Fourth of July is VERY IMPORTANT TO ME.” I am quite resolute on the point of parent as unbending boss, but in this case I knew of an easy way out, so I took her by the hand and we went downstairs and outside in the dark. I banged around in the pole barn until I found a ladder and we climbed up on the roof of the chicken coop. Because it is positioned on the brow of a hill, we had a view to roughly 300 degrees of horizon, and for the next twenty minutes we watched a county’s worth of fireworks springing up from the black all over the map.
This year we’re going to regular fireworks with the family.
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